Christmas Ale | Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV

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BA SCORE
93
outstanding
679 Reviews
Christmas AleChristmas Ale
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
Belgium
sintbernardus.be

Style: Quadrupel (Quad)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.00%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by seaoflament on 10-23-2007

BEER STATS
Reviews:
679
Ratings:
2,080
Avg:
4.19
pDev:
16.23%
 
 
Wants:
181
Gots:
414
For Trade:
6
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Reviews: 679 | Ratings: 2,080
Reviews by teak:
Photo of teak
5/5  rDev +19.3%

More User Reviews:
Photo of pat61
4.52/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

L: Poured brilliant chestnut crowned by a persistent, light tan stiff 2” meringue-like foam collar that leaves gothic window lace.
S: Dark dried fruit and fruit cake.
T: Layers of flavor composed of rich malt, dark dried fruit, fig, spice, hints of anise, and fruit cake. There is some lingering carmel with a hint of chocolate especially in the finish and the aftertaste. Moderate bitterness.
F: Medium body, very creamy with above average carbonation.
O: Another classic from a fine brewery.

 499 characters

Photo of chinchill
4.21/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Large 75cl bottle (2012?) served in a large Piraat tulip.

A: Dark but clear red-brown body. Large, durable, off-white foamy head,with exceptional lacing. Patchy sticky lace decorates the glass well after tipping.

Aroma: Dark fruits and dark bread crust. Faint spices. yeast and an unfortunate touch of must comes with the yeastiness.

Flavor: Sweet, but not overly so, with hints of toffee and brown sugar. Hints of spices including nutmeg, cinnamon and vanilla. A suggestion of rum. Dark fruit in abundance. No mustiness, thankfully. Complex and layered. Faint, ripe banana. Loads of depth here, and other flavor components come and go, adding to the enjoyment of this great ale.

Feel: medium body. Medium-heavy but soft carbonation makes for a light and lively feel.. Smooth, sticky and gently warming.

O: More like an ABT 12 than St. Bernardus Prior 8. Better than the Prior 8 and, if not for the aroma, it would be better than the ABT 12 too. Despite the Xmas theme, quite enjoyable in the summer. Highly recommended.

 1,029 characters

Photo of RoyalT
4.35/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance – This ale is a dark, dingy brown in color with a modest but stubborn head.

Smell – There's a lot of yeast in this nose and it has a hint of sourness to it. The malts are a light, doughy brown. The spicing is very winterish, full of dark accents. It is very balanced and somehow manages to pull off a light balance.

Taste – The yeast comes through strongly at the taste, and the malt is again like the nose; very light and doughy. I'm getting a bit of baker's chocolate as well. The spices pulled back some from the nose but are still present and well-balanced.

Mouthfeel – This is not quite full-bodied but it is big. The carbonation is strong and fluffy, tickling the inside cheeks like a good BSDA should.

Drinkability – This is a terrific addition to the St Bernie inventory. It's a wonderful wintertime specialty ale.

 842 characters

Photo of tectactoe
4.22/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep brown, ruby red color; murky and opaque with a thick, fluffy, creamy, and long-lasting beige head. Sweet and malty aromas jump from the glass immediately upon pouring; wine-like in aroma, with grapes and phenolic smells meshing together. Apple skins, berries, prunes, and a subtle hint of clove from the signature Belgian yeast. In the taste, there are many more spices coming out than were in the aroma. Nutmeg, anise, ginger, tiny bits of cinnamon, maybe even a touch of white pepper. Some light cocoa notes all around, bready and thick in flavor, clove and some spicy bitterness hits fast on the tail end. Earthy, dirty, and again full of boozy fruits - plums, figs, apples, soaked in booze. Bread and a touch of rye in the aftertaste. Thick body, heavy, lots of fine carbonation.

A solid Christmastime BSDA that acts as a wonderful winter warmer. One of the things I like about most BSDA's are their complex flavor profiles, and this one is no different. Lots of things going on, but they work together well.

 1,026 characters

Photo of metter98
4.18/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: The beer is very dark amber in color and poured with a two finger high creamy beige head that slowly died down but left a thin layer of bubbles consistently covering the surface.
S: The nose has aromas of malty sweetness and notes of dark fruits.
T: Like the smell, the taste is rather malty but has a mild amount of sweetness with notes of dark fruits and hints of yeast. The sweetness becomes stronger as the beer warms up.
M: It feels medium-bodied and very smooth on the palate with a high amount of carbonation.
D: The beer is very easy to drink considering its strength because the alcohol is well hidden.

 614 characters

Photo of Thorpe429
4.37/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had this with Christmas dinner in 2009. Thanks to my parents for spontaneously picking this up and surprising my wife and I with it for the meal.

Pours a dark caramel with a nice tan head and some good lacing. Nose is quite nice, dominated by plums, figs, dates, nutmeg, allspice, a touch of cinnamon, and some doughy malt. Lovely yeast character. Taste is just as complex and uber integrated. Like a nice holiday dessert without being at all overly sweet. Mouthfeel is nice and creamy; super smooth. Drinkability is quite nice. Will have to make this a tradition.

 565 characters

Photo of woemad
4.34/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

11.2oz bottle purchased at the Spokane Valley Total Wine for $5.99. According to the rear label, this is best before June 29, 2018.

Poured into a St. Bernardus glass (love it when beer and glassware meet), this was a dark brown color, showing off reddish highlights when held up to light. There was a big, thick beige colored head that took it’s time to drop.

In the nose, I got fruit, sweetness, and spiciness kinda like a candy apple paired with a banana. Other fruits were present, however, as I also got some prune and fig aroma.

Sweet and fruity in the taste as well, but balanced with some spices a more dark fruitiness that lends some bitterness and, so, balance to the proceedings. One thing not present in the taste is the alcohol (10%) of this beer. As it warmed, the spices came out more, but not the booze, and it remained dangerously drinkable throughout.

Fairly light bodied for a big boozer, as is standard with beers of this style, and the mouthfeel had that effervescence that is so hard for American versions to capture.

I don’t think this is as complex as a quad like St. Bernardus’s Abt 12, but there’s still quite a bit going on in this beer, and all of it delicious. Yep, I’d drink it again!

 1,228 characters

Photo of UrbanCaveman
3.57/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.5

750 ml bottle, poured into a snifter at room temperature.

A: Pours a rich, deep bronze-brown, and forms a fantastically thick head with good retention. Fairly clear, enough to see the bubbles rising from the bottom. Lacing is rather remarkable - this amount of froth and lacing should not even be possible for a 10% ABV beer!

S: Sweet malt and yeast, wreathed through with plum, fig, and cherry notes. The candi sweetness is of course present, along with just a tinge of funk.

T: So, that's what a quad with cinnamon in it tastes like. There's significant heat in this, from a combination of cinnamon spice with noticeable alcohol. Sweet malt, candi sugar, and dark fruits, particularly cherry, are all present, but beneath the spiceahol mix. The finish leaves a lingering burn.

M: Rather thin and sharply carbonated for a quad, actually. I was expecting something stickier, given the head and lacing.

O: I am rather underwhelmed by this beer, especially from St. Bernardus. The Abt 12 is spectacular, but this does not disguise the alcohol content half as well - instead, it disguises the underlying yeast flavors with alcohol and spice. I wouldn't say it is a bad beer, but I would not go out of my way to have it again. Perhaps if I were to encounter it on tap somewhere for a decent price per pour.

 1,308 characters

Photo of Biggiekrock627
3.62/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Had out of the bottle pouted into a Belgian style tulip glass. A number of sour notes to the smell and taste that seemed off. Not sure if I had a bad batch but almost felt like a lambic style any other st. Bernadus beers

 220 characters

Photo of rden4654
3.75/5  rDev -10.5%

Decent Beer I would not go out of my way to buy it though.

58 characters

Photo of Whiteturtle
3.61/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

750 ml bottle, poured into la chouffe tulip.

Eyes: Pours a milky caramel latte colour. With the always expected monster head that accompanies BSDA's.

Nose: Some of the usual suspects- currants, cherries, burnt sugar, caramel, toasty malts, anise. And a few others accompany- peppercorns, clove, rum, vanilla, and straight up alcohol. No joke, I dipped my nostrils pretty deep into my glass, and I think my nashairs (short for nasal-hairs, haha) got singed.

Taste: Dark cherries, anise, plums. Spicy berries. Maybe a touch of mint. But not a lot of holiday spices at first. I can tell that this will change (improve) with warmth. Very juicy though, lots of cherry/berry flavors.

Cheeks: Surprisingly light-bodied. Carbonation tickles the tongue. The 10% is tough on the nose, but its pretty easy going down the hatch. Doesn't burn the mouth too much either. The reserved use of the holiday spices lets the body of the beer shine through as a decent BSDA.

Overall: Middle of the road for my journey through Christmas Belgian ales this year. So far, I would put La Chouffe and Corsendonk over this. But I enjoyed this more than Gouden Carolus and Delirium Noel (what the hell happened to Delirium Noel??? so disappointed). This is really good, but somewhat forgettable. I enjoyed every sip I had, but the taste disappears very quickly. And the taste that is there is very mild. I don't mind christmas/winter ales taking it easy on the spices, but I at least want to know they are there if I'm buying them. I could smell the anise and clove, but couldn't really taste much outside of the initial anise notes. Regardless, this is a solid BSDA if you're looking for one. St. Bernardus does a good job, and they made another solid offering with this ale.

 1,756 characters

Photo of don1481
4.34/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Picked up a 4 pack of 11.2oz bottles on clearance at Woodman's. Let's see how this stacks up to Abt 12.

11.2 oz bottle poured into pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a very very dark reddish brown. Big, frothy head that takes quite some time to die down, leaving a sticky lacing along the side of the glass.

Smell: From the moment I poured this, I got hit by the same sort of sweetness that Abt 12 has in it. The brown sugar, dates, raisin notes come shining on through. I don't smell any real booziness to it. Maybe a trace of banana here, with some nutmeg and holiday type spices.

Taste: That's... different. This hits you in a different way than Abt 12. More of the holiday spices, but the date/raisin notes still are definitely here. A complex taste to it, pretty crisp, but not boozy at all.

Mouthfeel: Bubbly and crisp. Lingers a bit longer in the aftertaste, in a warming manner from the alcohol. Not a burning sensation, thankfully. Definitely a lighter body to it.

Overall: Dangerously sessionable for a 10% ABV. Very enjoyable. I'd love to age a couple of these in the basement.

 1,089 characters

Photo of aszatk01
4.25/5  rDev +1.4%

Photo of DanGeo
4.24/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of BryanFlaherty
4.8/5  rDev +14.6%

Photo of t2grogan
3.25/5  rDev -22.4%

Photo of CavemanRamblin
4.23/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of brownbeer
4.65/5  rDev +11%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I think this is a 2007 vintage, as the cork has a best before date of 2012. I assume it's a five year date. Although, that contradicts the suggestion on the bottle to age it up to 15 years. I digress.

Dark brown with a nice, light brown head, retention, the whole nine. Looks great.

The first thing I notice in the aroma is licorice. Then fig, Christmas plum pudding. Too many great notes for me to understand. Christmas in a bottle.

Spicy yeast flavors, a hint of apple fruitiness, fruitcake, nutmeg, caramel, raisin. Full, creamy body with a nice, warming finish. Could possibly benefit from a softer carbonation.

I'm not sure if the two years of age helped this out, but this beer is in that small group that defines Belgian greatness. Classy stuff.

 757 characters

Photo of npala86
4.5/5  rDev +7.4%

Photo of Tiernan
4.75/5  rDev +13.4%

Photo of ccapurso
4.5/5  rDev +7.4%

Photo of tbryan5
4.25/5  rDev +1.4%

Photo of SanFranJake
4.75/5  rDev +13.4%

Photo of SkiBum22
4.25/5  rDev +1.4%

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Christmas Ale from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
4.19 out of 5 based on 2,080 ratings.
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